I'd have to say that 2012 has been one of my best years, and I know without a doubt that it's due to something that changed within me.
You've heard it before, and I'm going to say it again: ATTITUDE. Yes, it turns out, Attitude is
Everything, and we ALL have the power to get there. Now don’t stop reading because you think you’ve heard it before…give me a chance to explain:
When life gave me lemons (ie: living so far away from the place and the people I love), I Made Lemonade. I Decided. I Took Control. I Took Action. I Took Risks. I DID SOMETHING. I started to blog and I took creative writing classes, and I started my website, West Coast Posse
, and I submitted an essay that was accepted and will be included in a BOOK
this year! Not only that, I'm writing my own book
, and if I must, I will self-publish it this year. I started this book YEARS ago. It sat on my computer, it moved from computer to computer, but suddenly something switched inside of me, and I began actively pursuing ways to make it happen. And. It. Will. I will complete and publish, Bluebirds
, the novel I know I was always meant to write, in 2013.
Now I'm a pretty determined chick, and I've done this before. When I couldn't get pregnant, I Took Control. I Took Action. I DID SOMETHING. When modern medicine failed me, I doggedly pursued and researched ways of improving my chances. I questioned. I changed. I adapted. I kept my goals of having a baby in my mind every waking moment, and I doggedly pursued my chosen path
. The path that spoke to me in whispers. I was quiet, and I listened. I didn't allow anything to shake me. I kept at it, and kept at it, until I met success. After six long years and one miscarriage, GlutenNaziMom was born, and so was GlutenNaziKid. He'll turn ten years old in 2013. And in 2013, GlutenNaziMom
, the website that I started four years ago, will actually become something.
I wanted to be a stay at home mom. It felt like the right thing to do, and I have loved it. Not every moment. But overall, there’s nothing better I could have possibly done with the last 9.75 years than to see two daughters through adolescence and to see each of them, in her own way, get married (both in the last quarter of) this past year, and to see one spectacular little boy successfully navigate fourth grade.
Being a SAHM has put a lot of pressure on my husband. It’s cost us financially, but so did me working and being unhappy in one unfulfilling job after another. I couldn’t see how to do both, but I’ve felt this niggling at the back of my mind that I was the key
. I was the key to my family’s financial freedom; to my own sense of purpose and fulfillment. I’ve written my entire life, and it’s something I’ve gone back to again and again. But I lacked the confidence to test the waters before. They remain largely untested, but instead of ignoring the niggling, I’m listening. I’m listening to that little voice inside of me, who’s been telling me for years that this was something I needed to do. I’m not standing outside the fence, watching the merry-go-round of life happen to everyone else. I’m not being a victim of circumstances that brought us back home and unemployed, I’m USING everything that’s happened before, everything that I know, every person I’ve met along the way, and I’m putting all the pieces together to make something happen in 2013.
And I couldn’t have done it without each one of you. Without every positive comment that gave me wings, and every negative comment that made me try harder, I could never have kept striving, kept believing, kept writing. DOING SOMETHING
, whether it elicits positive response or negative, is so very much better than living in a void
, than doing absolutely nothing but waking up every morning and taking up space—than sucking the Light
out of the Universe.
So I’m giving back. You bet your sweet bippy, I’m USING what I know and who I know, but at the same time, I’m promoting others. I’m sharing the love and the knowledge and the insight and the LIGHT
and the belief that what I’ve learned in my forty-six years on this earth, and what you’ve learned in yours, can help others; can make life better and the future brighter for those who choose to Listen and to Take Action and to Start Something in their own little corner of the globe. What’s Your Calling?
I now know that for each of us, We Are the Key. Inside every one of us lies the power to stop complaining and stop sniveling and stop spreading doom and destruction and misery; to stop passing blame, but rather, to use everything we know to share and to inspire and to make THIS the year everything turns around. Fiscal Cliff, be damned! I’m not holding my breath and waiting for the government
to fix my existence. I’m going out there and making it happen for myself, for my family, and for anyone who wants to Decide—who wants to Choose
—who wants to Take Action and come along. If we each look inside and make it Our Responsibility and Our Purpose, and spread that Attitude and Intention to our neighbors and around our blocks and around our towns and around Our Nation
and maybe even the WORLD—we Each Have the Power to Make 2013 The Best Year We’ve Ever Known!
The funny thing about our world these days is that Social Media vehicles like Twitter and Facebook have made it much smaller than it once was. Due to the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut and the immediacy of shared information, other countries are suddenly offering their input and participating in a dialog that was once uniquely American. I’m new to Twitter, but I’m becoming more and more aware that I could be talking to someone across oceans, and certainly across thousands of miles of tundra. I could be talking to someone who isn’t American, about a topic that concerns Americans, because suddenly it weighs heavily on the hearts and in the minds of the world.
Such was the case last evening when a dialog began about gun control and mental health between two mothers in two different countries. In the shorthand that is unique to Twitter, we only whispered at the surface, but I am building a great deal of respect for her views on success and failure, and we and the brilliant minds at Leadership Voices
agree on the need for an urgent global discussion on mental wellness
. Irene Becker is a business coach and consultant with Just Coach It
in Canada, and I am actually working with a business coach, Nancy Kaye, of Define Your Destiny
in San Diego, California. These women and others like them share a vision of the potential that can be reached by many who may have previously seen themselves as failures. And it’s quite possible these two fine, smart, beautiful spirits who are trying to heal the hearts and the minds of the clients they work with, one at a time, may share some other similarities in their views on gun control.
I have a unique perspective on the issue of gun control, in that my husband is an ex-police officer/ firefighter/ paramedic and is a nationally recognized security expert
who specializes in Business Continuity Planning
that encompasses active shooter and violence in the workplace programs.
We’re from Michigan, and we tend to be prepared sorts. That being said, neither of us is against federal mandates for stricter gun control policies as they pertain to the consistent vetting (across the country) for past criminal and mental health issues, right to privacy be damned—I would not be opposed to such background checks on all members of legal age in a prospective household, a waiting period not to exceed a week, for example, safety checks and required safety courses. With his background, my husband was part-owner of a gun store in our town for a time and served as gunsmith and armor to many of the local law enforcement agencies. On occasion I worked in that gun store, and thus had to go through the extensive training and testing and obtain a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) myself. I understand there are those who have very differing views on and feelings about guns than many of the rest of us in the US, as I’m sure we do on other issues. Much like the taboo of mental illness, this wasn’t something I often felt I could talk about in California, as I imagine it wouldn’t be in many circles in Canada and other countries. I must tell you, however, as a 5’0” woman who has been the victim of date-rape and who spent years as a single mom, I rather enjoy feeling competent and prepared; less scared and less like a potential victim all the time.
I suspect the incidence of all crimes is lower in Canada than in the US. But here we are, and suddenly taking guns away from law-abiding citizens while leaving them in the hands of criminals and psychos who don’t abide by the laws of the land, amounts to piss poor planning. However, Leadership Voices, Irene and Nancy are definitely onto something when they speak about the amount of stress under which our society lives and functions on a daily basis. I’ve seen it first hand, having lived in Chicago for a time when our daughters were young, and more recently having lived in San Diego for two years. We have chosen to return to our small, Midwestern town, where the pace and the demand and the traffic and the competition and the stress is far lower than what we experienced in either of those two bustling metropolitan areas, and frankly where I’m less afraid (and better prepared) to walk the streets. There was a school shooting at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad, California, not fifteen minutes north of our house when we first arrived there. There were two incidences of highway snipers that occurred in the short time we lived there, the 2nd one ending with an incident AT our freeway exit. There were robberies in malls, there were home invasions, there occurred two murders of cab drivers two exits to the south of ours in an area we frequented with out of town guests; all and much more in the short time we lived in California.
In our experience and in fact, the problems don’t stem from those of us who legally and responsibly own guns for the protection of our homes. The problems tend more to come from those for whom guns have been purchased by others, or from those who illegally possess guns. My hometown in Michigan sits on a stretch of highway that runs between Detroit and Chicago. There is a great deal of drug running that occurs, and there is plenty of gun violence that occurs in the socioeconomically depressed and welfare dependent town that sits right across the river from ours. We cross the river to go to the movies, and we cross the river to do our Christmas shopping. Thus, we are occasionally the victims of muggings and other crimes, particularly this time of year, and shoplifting and petty larceny is rampant.
Among the difficulties of the recent events in Newtown, CT, for me, is the fact that it has taken away an insular sense of security I once treasured here in my hometown. Mine is very like the town of Newtown: lakeside, quaint, picturesque, we parent and love one another’s children without restraint; we look out for our neighbors. Sandy Hook Elementary is a school very similar to my son’s. The staff and the children who lost their lives, and ALL of the town’s and the nation’s and the world’s parents and citizens who grieve them, look and sound very similar to those in our town. And even while I grieve my own and my children’s loss of innocence in such times, I have a strong sense that the past several years of economic destruction in many American families has left us heartbroken and emotionally, mentally, and financially battered. Those with the capacity for hope and the mental stability to do as Irene so aptly describes in her essay, Winning the New War
, to use our Constructive Discontent
to Fail Forward, will survive and with the help of people like Irene and Nancy use our skills to grow and perhaps even to excel in these times. It is the perpetually poverty-stricken, the sick and the tortured, the ones who suffer from undiagnosed and untreated mental illness, PTSD, and even chemical imbalances
that can sometimes be attributed to something as simple as food sensitivities
, who are clearly more susceptible to urges that lead them to take their pain and their anger out on innocent victims.
But patting them on their heads and holding their hands and telling them that it will be OK and being afraid to discuss mental illness or to reach out for help that isn’t there; caring more for their civil rights than for their mental health and the safety of others, clearly isn’t doing enough to ensure the health and safety of the public at large, and it must be immediately addressed.
Americans will always feel differently about guns than Canadians and those in other countries do, because Americans have had to fight hard for our freedoms, and Americans have had to fight for the weak and for those who have been inhumanely treated by their own governments. But what of our own? We are the self-appointed and globally-appointed protectors of freedom and justice in this world, and that ideology isn’t likely to change any time soon. Now we just need to find a way to heal our own troubled nation and protect the children in our own backyards and schoolyards, classrooms and hallways.
Taking the right to bare arms away from law-abiding Americans is akin to “changing the minds” (a la Paul Ryan in the vice presidential debate) of Middle Eastern nations or changing women’s minds about the right to choose—from either perspective. That’s a war nobody wants to take on. Perhaps we can, however, come to a reasonable compromise about important things like background checks for all persons of age in a prospective household, waiting periods, trigger locks, safety checks and safety courses.
I wouldn’t be GlutenNaziMom
if I didn’t relay the fact that much of the anger and the malcontent
that exists in our country can be attributed both to what is lacking (vital nutrients/ variety) and to what is present (GMOs, sugar, chemicals and additives) in our Standard American Diet—S.A.D. And there’s a reason the acronym is so very, very SAD.
We must realize that all of the pieces and the parts are connected. I am a sometimes reasonably liberal and sometimes reasonably conservative chick—founding member of the Enlightened Middle Majority
—who occasionally likes to very safely shoot guns, who has chosen both life and otherwise, and thus could never presume to “choose” for another woman, and who has pulled herself out of the depths of poverty as a single parent and for a season contemplated suicide
, and who believes that Health Care Reform as it sits is faulty, at best. How can it support itself if NO ONE is paying a copay? The math simply doesn’t work. And what earthly good can it do if we don’t address mental health in the process? If we continue to fail to address or even discuss Welfare Reform? Mind, Body, Spirit; it’s all interconnected, from an individual standpoint, and from our nation’s.
Guns and the right to bare arms, religious freedom as well as the freedom not to worship are organic and fundamental pieces of the ideology on which this country was built. Mr. President, you may have won the election because for just enough the alternative was unpalatable, but you have a long way to go before you win over and heal the hearts and the minds and the pocketbooks of the Greatest Nation and of the world. And until we as a nation come together, support one another, and collectively do so, unthinkable and unacceptable horrors such as the one in Sandy Hook Elementary school last Friday, such as the one in the mall in Newport Beach, California, three days before, and the one in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, before that, will only continue to happen and likely continue to escalate. I think we can all agree that nobody wants to see that happen in their corner of small town America, or anywhere.
An image that has persisted in my mind during President Barack Obama’s Administration, is that of a bunch of fat white men sitting around a paneled room smoking cigars, nodding with the one who says, “That boy
will never see another term.” Sure, President Bill Clinton had the ‘Grinch Mob,’ but as a president, despite his obvious flaws as a husband, he still enjoyed a good deal of support. A circle of life concluded between Republican Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves and Democrat Barack Obama becoming president, and in contrast, he has conducted himself with the utmost class. I suspect, however, that the Obamas navigate Washington circles amid an undercurrent of discrimination. I’m not ready to commit my vote yet, but never in my awareness of politics can I remember a president being so vehemently opposed and, God help our country, I feel strongly that it’s because he’s black.
This seems to be the only ideal the Republican Party is united about these days, and the desire to squash a sitting president does not an effective campaign make. The GOP does not have it together, and that’s what scares away those of us in the middle. As proven by the disastrous McCain/Palin ticket, you can’t just dress up an ill-prepared hockey mom, put lipstick on her, shove her onto a national platform and expect her to save your party. She may walk like a duck and squawk like a duck, but she’s still just a good ol’ boy dressed in drag.
The Democrats, however, are guilty, too. They sit back quietly on their laurels, and when the GOP begins to take too much ground, they occasionally throw out the reminder that still gets many women to vote their way: “Watch out! They’re all out to take away abortion!” The Democrats seem to think it’s the only winning card they have to play. We have to ask ourselves whom it really behooves to keep throwing the right to choose up for fisticuffs. I said it as Poky Puppy ADD It Again, in my featured piece on BlogHer.com, The Enlightened Middle Majority and Why ‘The Sides’ Are Alienating Us:
“But that's all any of us really want, and it’s the very foundation on which this country was built. We still don't want anyone to tell us whom we must worship, where we must worship, or that we have to worship at all, nor do we wish to stop anyone who wants to do so. Freedom of
religion must also mean freedom from
religion, and religious doctrines simply cannot enter into a political discussion of our rights as Americans. I believe in God. But I don't want anyone to tell me that I have to.”
So uphold Roe vs. Wade, take the right to choose off the table, as it must be, and see what kind of progress we can make on all the other issues. I believe suddenly the discourse would become far more productive.
The only other cohesive message that seems to come from the Republican side is from that ultra conservative Christian sector, which isn’t what this country wants or needs. What we are aching for, what this whole 51% thing is about, is the hope and the desire and, dammit, the demand
for a voice of reason; to speak out and say, “Enough already!” I suspect that voice will be a woman’s; to represent the middle majority and do what’s really good for this country as a whole. In the meantime, if everyone would stop opposing so vehemently and start participating in bi-partisan cooperation, great things could be accomplished now.
Women hold treasures far more valuable than brute strength: flexibility, common sense, diplomacy, the ability to multi-task and keep entire families together, to balance and stay within budgets, to go Momma Bear, Tiger Mom, and even Hockey Mom and fight to the death for our clan when we must. We do this while our men-folk bump chests, bully and bluster and attempt to bend the world with their military prowess. We are cut open or ripped open to give birth, yet the entire problem both parties have can be summed up in these few words: They Under-Estimate Us. We survive rape and breast cancer, poverty and oppression, and we possess strength beyond imagination.
Except that we
imagine it. We
understand it--live it--we keep it close and we keep it quiet in order to keep peace, exercising it only when we must. Well, my sisters, we must
. Whether we lean to the right or to the left, we can no longer afford to just hold our collective breaths and hope for the best. We
must act now. We
must be willing to mix it up with the boys and spar a little; to stand up and let our altos and sopranos and our keyboards be heard. We
are the 51%. We
are the Enlightened Middle Majority and we
are the future; of politics, of our nation’s success and of the very continuation of our race.
I can’t imagine what sort of resistance a woman president might one day be subjected to, but I know this: ‘They’ won’t know what size Jimmy Choos hit them.[Here's the link to the first post, "My Friends Think I'm The Only Liberal They Know. I Don't Know What I Am," which was featured on BlogHer.com, before "The Enlightened Middle Majority And Why 'The Sides' Are Alienating Us," was featured on the same site. Of course, they are originally posted here, but the comments of the many brilliant readers on BlogHer make for entertaining reading as well.]
And no, my spell check did not land on LOL. Nope, not then either.
I’ve gotten into the habit of perusing Facebook, Yahoo News and such places for writing inspiration each morning. A very well written post from Sarah R. Callender’s blog, Inside-Out Underpants
, caught my attention. Myth
talks about when to discuss The Birds and The Bees with your child, and points at the prevalence of “soft” pornographic images, namely breasts and bras, in popular media. I have an almost nine-year-old son; good points. “Points” I’ve covered his eyes or attempted to distract him from on more than one occasion. And, another one of Callender’s excellent examples, we’re crazy if we think they didn’t catch the references to Weiner’s wiener all over the news. It’s only one of an elementary aged boy’s top five favorite words.
Callender provides a link to the perfect example, a Victoria’s Secret commercial
. Even as I wonder where our probably very dusty copy of Where Did I Come From
could be (Callender offers other worthy options, too), and beat myself up for the missed opportunities to speak to my son about such things, I’m distracted by the grammatical error in the first five seconds of the advertisement. I watch it again to make sure.
Indeed, There’s 5 Ways
, is quickly blazoned across the screen, while the caption below the video uses the proper grammar, “…there are
5 ways….” Did Victoria’s ad agency really choose visual balance over proper grammar? Did they merely shrug and accept the fact that it’s oh so wrong, or assume that their targeted demographic (frighteningly teens
and twenty-somethings) wouldn’t catch it? Have we grown so accustomed to the improper use of grammar in texting, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of short-hand communication, that we’re growing tolerant of such representations, and the fact that it’s insidiously infecting popular media?
Nope, spell check didn’t catch “texting” either, when “sending a text” is probably more proper.
I’m not going to pretend to know the exact grammar rules that once determined what is correct. I don’t have a degree in journalism, communications or language arts or any degree at all, for that matter. But my public school education prepared me well to communicate effectively into adulthood, from the time I was in early elementary school. We learned cursive. We wrote and we wrote some more, and the more writing we did, the better we learned grammar and punctuation, and the better our fine motor skills became.
Here’s a shocker: Cursive is no longer required curricula in many elementary schools. Ahem. If kids aren’t taught cursive, how will they learn to read cursive when Grandma sends them a card or writes them a check? A simple Yahoo! search of “cursive no longer in curriculum,” revealed states like Indiana, Illinois and Hawaii are no longer teaching cursive. And worse, on a national scale, this article in the Herald Review
warns that at least 44 other states have adapted to such standards in response to the national standardized exam that is expected in 2014. The article compares the future of cursive script to ancient hieroglyphics, which only a handful of archeologists can decipher. When is the last time you met an archaeologist? When is the last time you met a person who writes in cursive?
Huh. I tried curricula and curriculum in the first sentence of the last paragraph and spell check was no help with either. I really must purchase an old fashioned dictionary.
One homeschooling mom I know here in San Diego isn’t teaching her kids keyboarding because, “the direction we’re headed is talk to type.” She claims her kids won’t need it. But if we are headed in that direction, they’d better learn first how to talk properly. And guess what writing helps kids learn—language, speech, how to form ideas and get them across properly, methodically, rhythmically, in a way that is presentable and makes sense. The very basis of everything they must do in school and out, from math to science to reading, to getting into college and later landing a job. And as I’ve demonstrated throughout, spell check isn’t all that reliable, especially where usage and syntax is concerned. And our kids are reading less, also essential in learning and developing language and communication skills, and playing more video games, which aren’t at all useful for much of any purpose other than entertaining your kid on a long car ride. Say, from California to Michigan.
My mind can’t grasp the enormity that the immediate twenty years of technological growth might simply erase the prior five hundred. Morse Code
has been in use for more than 160 years, and is still being used by the military. Why? Because it’s reliable, it can be transmitted visually, using mirrors or lights, thereby keeping radio silence when necessary, and because if one day technology fails and survival of the fittest comes back into vogue, Morse Code and long hand may just keep you alive. Yes, I’ve been reading The Hunger Games. And I’m from Michigan; we’re prepared sorts.
And thanks to no child left behind, all this “progress” is government sanctioned. Nay, soon to be government mandated, when IMO our children will be left oh so far behind. By the way, nay is a fancy, old timey word that means no. And IMO didn’t get flagged either. Our kids are screwed.
Don’t even get me started on gym class and school lunches.